Front Matter PDF - Pelican Publishing Company

pelicanpub.com

Front Matter PDF - Pelican Publishing Company

LOUISIANA

The First 300 Years


Magnolia, the State Flower

1900

The State Seal

1902

The State Flag of Louisiana

1912


LOUISIANA

THE FIRST 300 YEARS

By

Joan B. Garvey

and

Mary Lou Widmer

Authors of Beautiful Crescent,

A History of New Orleans

GARMER PRESS, INC.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA


Copyright 2001

By Joan B. Garvey

and

Mary Lou Widmer

Authors of Beautiful Crescent, A History of New Orleans

First Edition 2001

Second Edition 2007

Published by

Garmer Press, Inc.

320 New Orleans Hammond Way

New Orleans, LA 70124

ISBN # -9612960-4-6


Louisiana was created by the meandering of the Mississippi

River over the centuries. Three thousand years ago its main

channel was the present Bayou Teche on whose ancient levees

stand the Cajun towns of Breaux Bridge, Jeanerette,

Broussard, and Olivier. In the second century A.D. the Mississippi

was taken south by Bayou Lafourche in a region that

would be known as Plaquemines. When the first white explorers

arrived in the 16 th and 17 th centuries, the river was

levee-bound in its present path, passing Baton Rouge and

New Orleans on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. In the 1950s,

another shift seemed imminent as the river, seeking a shorter

route to the Gulf, courted the Atchafalaya as a fitting carrier.

In 1963, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dammed Old

River, the former confluence of the Mississippi, the Red, and

the Atchafalaya Rivers to keep all three in their present courses.

Thus the Control of Nature began.


PREFACE

Settlers were drawn to the shores of the Louisiana colony because

of the Mississippi River and its access to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.

To the river ports came French traders, hoping to do business

with the world. The Spanish took over the colony hoping, with the

control of the major waterways, to keep intruders from their lucrative

holdings, south, east and west of Louisiana. Germans and Acadians

came to the area seeking land to farm in the prairies of the southwest,

taking advantage of the rich alluvial soil of the floodplains. Islenos

from the Canary Islands settled in the lower Mississippi area to farm

and fish and hunt. Africans, Caribbeans, Filipinos, French and Spanish

came to the coastal marsh areas of the state attracted by the long

growing season, 270 days. Here they realized the great agricultural

potential of the mucks and clays and layers of peat in the soil. The Red

River and the Cane River areas became the home of a special community

of people of mixed heritage, including Spanish and Mexican settlers

from Texas.

After Louisiana became a United States Territory and then a state in

1812, Anglo and Scotch-Irish immigrants came to the north and west central

parts of the state, the hill parishes. Here they planted cotton and corn,

grew peaches and other fruits and vegetables, and further developed the

lumber business, enjoying the wealth of our vast forest areas.

Pre and Post-Civil War black farmers migrated to the northeastern

part of the state to farm the Ouachita, Tensas, and Mississippi River

basins. English settlers from the thirteen original colonies moved into

the slightly rolling plains of the Felicianas to grow cotton and harvest

lumber from the forest. Dalmatians came to the area of the passes and

Deltaic Plains to farm the seas where salt and fresh water mixed to

produce oysters of great size and excellent taste. Many nationalities

settled in the lower Mississippi Valley to plant citrus trees in the Mississippi

River soil.

The variety of cultures represented in the development of Louisiana

make the state unique. From a small French colony in the Louisiana

Territory it has grown into a state representative of the many ethnic

groups present in our country.

The Parish names give us keys as to the migrations of people and

the time they came.


Indian names like Natchitoches and Avoyelles mark the places where

these tribes lived. Saints’ names and other religious names were given

by the French to places where they settled, such as St. Mary, St. John,

St. James, Ascension, and Assumption. Spanish names like Iberia and

the Felicianas tell us where the Spanish lived. American names indicate

the places to which Americans migrated after 1803, names like

Washington, Grant, Madison, Jefferson, Monroe, Lee, and Jefferson

Davis.

In the 20 th century Louisiana became home to Cubans, Vietnamese,

and many other people seeking freedom and the opportunities

our state and country offered. All remain faithful to their customs and

traditions, and all add flavor and spice to the gumbo and jambalaya

that is Louisiana. The story of Louisiana contains violence, sex, and

political intrigue: violence in its wars, sex in its brothels, and intrigue

in its political government.

As Louisiana begins a new century, it is ready, as it was three hundred

years ago, to welcome new people, new ideas, and new challenges.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO THE PEOPLE AND

FACILITIES WHO ASSISTED US IN THE

TREMENDOUS TASK OF TELLING THE 300-YEAR

HISTORY OF LOUISIANA IN WORDS AND PICTURES

Carol and Dr. Norman Zaffater for research and photos of the

Northwestern part of Louisiana; Eric J. Brock, author/historian, for

the loan of his wonderful photos; Sally Stassi, Pamela Arceneaux, and

John Magill/Historic New Orleans Collection; Merle M. Groce/

Morgan City Archives; Ghislain Malette/National Archives of Canada;

Courtney Wright/Special Collections/Howard Tilton Memorial

Library; Louisiana State Library Staff/Baton Rouge; Louisiana

Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism; Laura Street/Noel

Memorial Library/LSU in Shreveport; Dorothy L. Benge/Los Islenos

Heritage and Cultural Society; Mary Curry/Jefferson Parish Historical

Society; Margaret Varnell/medical historian; Cary B. McNamara and

Morris J. Oubre, lockmaster at the Old River Lock/U.S. Corps of

Engineers/New Orleans District; Nancy Hawkin/Division of

Archaeology, Baton Rouge; Capt. Leo T. Profilet, U.S. Navy, Ret., for

historic quotations; Roseanne Sneddon for proofreading; C.C.

Lockwood for the cover photo.

We thank our husbands Walter Garvey and Al Widmer for help and

support during the five years we spent writing this book.

The Authors


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. THE LAND, THE INDIANS, THE

EARLY EXPLORERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

2. FRENCH LOUISIANA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

3. SPANISH LOUISIANA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

4. AMERICAN LOUISIANA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

5. LOUISIANA, THE 18 TH STATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

6. LOUISIANA AND THE WAR FOR

SOUTHERN INDEPENDENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97

7. RECONSTRUCTION IN LOUISIANA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117

8. CHANGES IN THE NEW CENTURY: 1900-1930 . . . . . 140

9. THE DEPRESSION, THE KINGFISH, AND WORLD

WAR II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169

10. MID 20 TH CENTURY LOUISIANA: 1945-1970 . . . . . . . . 187

11. LOUISIANA, ON THE WAY TO THE 21 ST CENTURY

(1970-2000) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209

12. LOOKING FORWARD, LOOKING BACK, THE NEW

MILLENIUM IN LOUISIANA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .235

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines